Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, February 26, 2010

ISR receives $14.8 million for expansion

The Institute for Social Research has received a $14.8 million construction award from the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The award is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It brings the total of ARRA stimulus awards to ISR to $48.3 million to date.

“I appreciate the National Institutes of Health’s continued commitment to maintaining the excellence of the U-M Institute for Social Research,” says U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn. “This grant will allow ISR to continue and expand upon its distinguished research, such as the Health and Retirement Study and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, as well as to provide the faculty and staff with a first-class facility to match the quality of research produced. ISR’s expansion also provides a unique potential for job growth: opening up new positions for the unemployed in Michigan and solidifying opportunities for talented college graduates.”

“The University of Michigan is an innovative leader in many fields, and this grant will help keep their Institute for Social Research at the forefront of social science research,” U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., says. “This Recovery Act grant will create scores of jobs while building an investment that Michigan and the country will benefit from for decades to come.”

Pending approval of the Board of Regents, the construction project will take place during the next few years. Preliminary plans call for an addition of 50,000 square feet to the Thompson Street building of ISR.

“The Institute for Social Research is renowned for its leadership and brings national prominence to our state and to the University of Michigan. This grant is recognition of that leadership and reputation,” says U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “In addition to helping U-M’s Institute for Social Research increase, improve and enhance the great work it already does, we are bringing good jobs to the Ann Arbor community.”

ISR Director James S. Jackson says: “In order to enhance the capabilities of the institute to conduct path-breaking research, we need to create a physical facility that supports the breadth and depth of social science research conducted here.

“ISR brings together a growing number of researchers who are using biometric and biological markers in their surveys, and integrating these data with more conventional social and behavioral data present new challenges and new demands for a physical infrastructure that supports this exciting new research direction.”

Jackson says the construction has five key aims:

• Increase the capacity of research facilities for the many large, ongoing number of research programs funded by the National Institutes of Health, as well as the educational needs of the Michigan Program in Survey Methodology.

• Enhance the productivity of researchers by increasing the opportunities for coordination and integration within and across programs.

• Provide modern facilities for communication between ISR and its national and international partners.

• Create facilities for training researchers and integrating them into a variety of research projects.

• Create a sustainable and effective physical environment that encourages energy conserving behaviors and decreases environmental burden.

Jackson estimates that the project has the potential to create as many as 200 short-term and long-term jobs.